MECHANICSBURG — Friday’s clash with Cumberland Valley couldn’t have started much better for State College.
After a big kick return, the Little Lions marched 54 yards in 3:22 to grab a 7-0 lead.
It would be the last time State College would lead.
The Eagles’ Wing-T rushing attack was too much for the State College defense as the Little Lions tumbled 39-26.
The loss locked State College (5-5) into the No. 2 spot for the coming District 6/9 playoffs. The Little Lions likely will host No. 3 Mifflin County (4-6) in the playoffs with the winner meeting No. 1 DuBois (6-4). All three teams lost on Friday. State College defeated Mifflin County 26-21 on Oct. 25.
Tyler Heisey ran for three short scores for Cumberland Valley (8-2) and Tyler Updegraff rushed for 205 yards, including an 87-yard touchdown burst.
Jordan Misher capped the opening drive for the Little Lions with a 3-yard touchdown run and Connor Pighetti’s extra point made it a quick 7-0 lead.
But Cumberland Valley methodically marched through the State College defense with Heisey scoring on a one-yard plunge. The Little Lions blocked the point after and led 7-6.
A poor kick return and a sack had the Little Lions back to their own 1-yard line and a 14-yard punt gave Cumberland Valley a short field. Heisey’s two-yarder made the score 12-7.
The Little Lions did but together a couple of good drives but turned the ball over on downs. Midway through the second quarter, they drove inside the 10, but failed on fourth down at the 8.
Just a few plays later, Updegraff burned them with his 87-yarder to make the score 19-7 at half.
Cumberland Valley got the ball to open the second half and marched on another scoring drive. Quarterback Chris Galbraith’s one-yard sneak made the score 25-7 as the Little Lions blocked the extra point.
Patrick Irwin fired a five-yard strike to John Weakland to make it 25-13. A trick play on the two-point conversion failed.
State College could get no closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
Heisey’s third score, another one-yarder, pushed the margin to 32-13 12 seconds into the final quarter.
Irwin’s three-yard run (the extra point was blocked) cut the margin to 32-19.
Cumberland Valley responded again. Tim Spinelli’s 30-yard dash pushed the lead to 39-19 with 7:17 remaining.
The Little Lions needed less than two minutes to score again, with Irwin going into the end zone from eight yards out with 5:34 to go.
State College never got the ball again as Cumberland Valley’s rushing attack ran out the clock.
The Eagles ran 50 times for a whopping 312 yards. Galbraith was also effective in the air, completing 6 of 8 attempts for 115 yards.
State College piled up 212 yards on 36 carries. Irwin (15-74), Misher (12-61) and Jake Knouse (4-53) were effective for the Little Lions.
Irwin completed 18 of 27 passes for 210 yards. His favorite target was Weakland, who had eight receptions for 91 yards.